Payset prespective
March 22, 2023

What Is IBAN Discrimination?

Learn more about IBAN discrimination so you can protect your business from it in the future. Our guide will help you to understand what to do if you feel like you’re being discriminated against.

IBAN discrimination occurs when a company or service refuses to accept your IBAN number when you perform a payment or other transaction. Fortunately, if you experience this type of discrimination, there are steps that you can take against it.

Here’s what you can do to protect yourself against IBAN discrimination.

IBAN Discrimination Meaning

Many bank accounts are associated with an IBAN number — a string of text that contains up to 34 characters and describes your bank, your bank account, and other information.

IBAN discrimination occurs when a company refuses to serve you based on your IBAN number. Typically, IBANs are refused based on their country of origin.

If you are transacting in a European country — specifically within the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) — IBAN discrimination is not permitted. Many companies nevertheless attempt to refuse service in this way despite the fact that such restrictions are illegal.

The anti-discrimination rule may not apply in the U.S. and other countries outside the SEPA area. If you are unsure whether you are in a SEPA country, refer to this map and list.

What to Do if You Are Facing IBAN Discrimination

If you are facing IBAN discrimination, you can take various courses of action.

Contact The Company

You should first attempt to resolve your issue by contacting the company that you are transacting with and informing them that they are required to accept your IBAN. The company may be able to resolve your issue without any further steps on your part. 

Write a Formal Letter of Complaint

If the IBAN discrimination continues, you should write a formal letter of complaint to the company. 

You can use a template that informs the company of the way in which they specifically violated regulations. However, you should also closely follow any complaint process described on the company’s website to ensure that your complaint is fully recognized.

By sending a letter, you’ll have a written record of your complaint for future reference.

Contact a Regulatory Body

If writing a formal letter of complaint does not solve your problem, you can contact financial regulators in your country. For any given EU country, you can refer to this list provided by the European Central Bank in order to locate your local financial regulator. 

What Is the Law Regarding IBAN Discrimination in the UK and EU?

Article 9 of the European SEPA Regulation (EU 260/2012) specifically bans IBAN discrimination. 

This piece of regulation states that a payer or payee cannot decide whether to perform a transaction based on the location of a transaction partner’s payment account.

Various companies have formed a coalition to ensure that companies obey IBAN anti-discrimination laws. Companies such as Wise, N26, Revolut, Raisin, Klarna, SumUp, Fire, Bankeram, and Monneo are involved in this effort. Wise specifically has founded, which allows individuals to report complaints about discrimination.

The European Central Bank said in a recent report that numerous complaints have been made through AcceptMyIBAN since 2021. Representatives committed to solving the issue of IBAN discrimination during the EU Forum of National Payment Committees.

How Do I Report Instances of IBAN Discrimination?

You can report instances of IBAN discrimination in various ways, for example:

  • By reporting IBAN discrimination directly to a company
  • By reporting IBAN discrimination to your relevant local authority
  • By posting a complaint on

You may need to include various pieces of information in your report including:

  • Your name, country, and address
  • The country that your IBAN account is registered in
  • The company that you are filing a complaint against
  • A description of the discrimination incident
  • Whether you contacted the relevant company
  • Your original rejection (if it was emailed or exists in printed form)

Causes of IBAN Discrimination:

Though the specific causes of IBAN discrimination vary between countries, incidents typically occur when individuals or businesses make cross-border payments.

Companies that rarely serve foreign customers may be unaware of IBAN discrimination rules. For example, businesses that typically pay local employees may not realise they need to transact with international IBAN accounts. Utility companies that usually serve local citizens may make similar oversights and attempt to block foreign IBAN numbers. 

Certain countries are more prone to IBAN discrimination. According to Wise, France is responsible for 40% of surveyed IBAN discrimination cases, while Spain and Germany are each responsible for 15% of surveyed cases. Though the underlying reasons are unclear, the country that you transact in could be one reason that you face IBAN discrimination.

Political events may also cause confusion around the law. For example, IBAN discrimination in the UK was reported to increase around 2021 in the aftermath of Brexit. In this case, discrimination may be due to honest error rather than a deliberate attempt to break the rules.

How Can IBAN Discrimination Affect Your Business?

IBAN discrimination can affect your business by making it more difficult for you to work with foreign entities and individuals. If your transaction partner does not cooperate with IBAN discrimination laws, you could have a hard time making or receiving important payments.

Exactly how this will impact your business depends on the type of transactions that you make. For example, IBAN discrimination may prevent you from ordering products or services from a supplier when a business partner or supplier rejects your IBAN. 

Alternatively, you may be unable to pay employees or contractors in another country if a foreign payment network refuses to accept payments from your IBAN address. 

In short, IBAN discrimination can affect any sort of activity that involves financial transactions. Though fighting discrimination is sometimes necessary, choosing to work with known and trusted services carefully can help you avoid IBAN discrimination before it occurs.

How Payset Can Help

Though you cannot predict the actions of other parties, you can simplify matters by using a payment service that is legally compliant. Payset complies with all relevant SEPA laws including Article 9 of SEPA Regulation (EU) No. 260/2012, as described above.

Payset provides streamlined IBAN payments. All Payset accounts include a virtual IBAN account, allowing you to make cross-border payments in a straightforward manner. 

Payset fully complies with all regulations in the UK including Electronic Money Regulation (EMR) rules and data protection laws (GDPR). We expressly work against IBAN discrimination by serving IBAN customers from all eligible areas to the extent possible.

To sign up for a Payset account, click below:

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Frequently asked questions

What is a multi-currency account/virtual IBAN?

A Payset multi-currency account allows you to receive money in 34 different currencies and send money in up to 38 currencies, all within the same account.

You can deposit and withdraw funds, convert currencies at competitive exchange rates, and hold your chosen currencies to capitalize on market movements.

A Payset multi-currency account allows startups and business owners to receive payments from clients virtually anywhere in the world and pay suppliers, staff, and contractors quickly and affordably in their chosen currency.

  • Funds can be deposited and withdrawn from the account for a small fee.
  • Account holders can send and receive money with other Payset users for free.
  • Depending on your region, you can use various payment networks from your Payset account, including SWIFT, SEPA, ACH, Fedwire, Faster Payments, BACS, and CHAPS. 
  • Once you register an account, you will be provided with a Virtual IBAN (International Bank Account Number), which makes all of these transfers easy.
  • We provide you with local payments and collections. For example, transactions in USD, EUR, CAD, and GBP are processed through the local payment networks, which is far cheaper and takes minutes as opposed to days

Are there limits on the amount of money I can send and receive?

No, there are no transaction limits on Payset multi-currency accounts.

However, higher-volume transactions may require additional anti-fraud verification. If you plan to make a large transaction, contact us in advance to avoid verification delays.

How is Payset regulated?

Payset is regulated as an authorized Electronic Money Institution by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. Our activities are also regulated by the Payment Services Regulation 2017 and the Electronic Money Regulation 2011 (SI 2011/99).

How do I send money from my account?

Once you have opened your verified IBAN account and added money to a balance, transferring funds is simple.

Simply log in into your account and add a beneficiary, then simply “make a transfer” in your preferred currency to that beneficiary.

Information contained in this publication is provided for general education and information purposes only and should not be construed as legal, tax, investment or other professional advice or recommendation, or an offer of, or solicitation for, any transactions or any other actions (or refraining therefrom); This material has been prepared without taking into account any particular recipient’s financial objectives or situation. We make no warranty, guarantee or representation, whether express or implied, as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or fitness thereof for a particular purpose; Use of images and symbols is made for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute a recommendation or advice to take or refraining from any action; Use of brand logos does not necessarily imply a contractual relationship between us and the entities owning the logos, nor does it represent an endorsement of any such entity by Pay Set Limited, or vice versa; Market information is made available to you only as a service, and we do not endorse or approve it; Any reference to past performance, predicted returns, or likelihood performance scenarios may not reflect actual future performance and certainly do not guarantee future outcomes.

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